How is 'identity' created?

Some weeks ago, Random Thoughts from a CTO wrote that

Regardless of which type of blog you promote, one thing is for sure – “You need to find your voice” and stay true to it.

Identity is certainly a fundamental ingredient to make a project successful. It doesn’t matter if the project is your personal blog, or some bigger task where a whole team is involved. People need to know the values, motivations and goals of the project, so that they can find how they connect to the project, how do they fit in it.

But do we ‘decide’ on the identity beforehand, when the project starts, or does it emerge organically over time? For business-style projects, I would suppose that the identity is something clear from the beginning, as they start with clear goals and motivations. But for more personal-style or experimental projects, such as blogs, the identity might not be defined long after the project started.

When I bought this domain and put up this page, it wasn’t even a blog. But I gradually realized that something blog-like is what I really wanted, and timidly started to experiment with the medium. I started with some short posts on random issues, trying out what worked best for me, what felt more comfortable, more fun. Slowly, some main subjects started to emerge: current events, IT, books I read… Later, some six months into my ‘blogging career’, I realized that the CMS I was using (Pivot) was inadequate, and migrated to what I perceived as a better one (Wordpress). Later still, I started looking for a tag line that would somehow convey what are the main subjects of this blog. Along the way, the design of the site changed quite a few times. And finally, after a bit more than a year, I have a clearer idea about the identity of this blog. But it is definitely nothing that I consciously planned.

But of course, this is just my personal case. Clearly, many blogs are created with a clear identity in mind, and state it clearly in their titles, tag lines and posts from day one.